Wigan has today been announced as an outstanding area for Badminton by BADMINTON England. The area has been identified as a key area for Badminton opportunities in the North West and is the first local authority area in Greater Manchester to be given this accolade.
Badminton opportunities in the borough are driven by a Community Badminton Network. This group helps get people into badminton, develops and sustains badminton opportunities in the borough and supports clubs and social sessions to ensure the sport is accessible to all. The group also helps clubs, coaches and young people access opportunities for further development in the sport.
“We have come a long way since this group was formed, Over 50’s Badminton, created a new badminton club, supported the development of a new junior badminton club” says Richard Smith, Secretary for the Wigan Community Badminton Network and Sports Development Officer for Wigan Sports Development.
“The group consists of representatives from local clubs, local coaches, Wigan Sports Development and Wigan Athletic Football Club. These partnerships mean that the impact the group can make on the number of people participating in the sport is increased.”
Chair of the Development Group Angela Walker said “The people who are involved in the group are striving for the same goal, to get more people playing our sport. The support we can gain through working together really does prove that more heads are better than one.”
In the last year Wigan has developed Over 50’s Badminton sessions, run social badminton competitions to encourage more people to participate, seen a number of young talented athletes move onto greater things, coached badminton in Primary schools and helped support a Junior Badminton club who are now going from strength to strength.
The clubs involved in the Community Badminton Network do exceptional work throughout the local community. Disability sessions at Abraham Guest High School, school badminton at Shevington High School and sessions at St John Rigby College are just some of the initiatives that have been made possible through the work of the group. The group has also encouraged further development with a working partnership with Wigan Athletic Football Club. The Community Trust runs the Premier League 4 Sport Programme, allowing young people to play badminton after school, with the intention for these sessions to foster a life-long love of the sport using the brand of the Football Club. Members of the Network were even invited to have photos taken on the pitch before the Wigan and Bolton match before Christmas to celebrate sporting and club achievements.
The Community Badminton Network, will not be resting on its laurels for long however, with new plans in place for the coming year, the Wigan Community Badminton Network are keen to forge on until all people who wish to participate in badminton have the opportunity to get involved in this easy-to-access and fun sport.
Hazel Johnson badminton disability athlete and Gold Medal Para-Badminton Champion says “The work done by all involved in this group means that anybody who wants to play the sport will be able to get involved.”
If you would like to find out more about what the Wigan Community Badminton Network does locally or find information about your local badminton playing opportunity please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or alternatively go to www.playbadminton.co.uk search for your postcode and find your nearest session.